New Pope. It was the big world news yesterday. For me, it was curious and sad. Even though I was raised a Catholic, I want nothing to do with institutions that exclude women, or anyone for that matter. An all male church that worships an all male God cannot ever be in balance. Period. And the argument that Jesus didn’t have any women disciples is not necessarily accurate or true. But supposing for a minute that he didn’t, do we really take the message of love and twist it into a “no girls allowed” story? Shouldn’t the spiritual path be one of growth and evolution that serves all of humanity?
I like to read the mystics– St John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, Meister Eckhart. They speak to a connection with the Divine, devoid of ritual and dogma. They speak to the potential of a personal experience and direct connection to the Divine in all human beings — not just the chosen, the straight, or the exclusively male. This is where I feel comfortable—in the inclusion of human diversity, not the exclusion of it. This is where the Christ consciousness resonates for me, in a sense of oneness. It’s the “oneness” that I view as “holy.”
It is difficult to believe in this time and age that we still have such a big list of who God likes and who he doesn’t. It reminds me more of life in Junior high school than it does something spiritual. Separating out people who the church is afraid of or judging of, just perpetuates a mean message…and no one is as mean as someone who is mean in the name of Jesus. Once again, it reminds me of Junior High.
There’s an old joke that has something to do with the hard-of-hearing priest kneeling in prayer while God tries to emphasize the message of “celebrate” and the priest hears it as “celibate.” It’s a good joke–we should be celebrating life! The exclusion of different groups and the secretive and ritual abuse of children is hardly celebration though, is it?
The exclusion of women in the Catholic Church has led to an infection of perversion that has wrought unspeakable harm to children. Until that mess is cleaned up and the source of it addressed, the problem will perpetuate itself as it has for centuries. With the albatross of child molestation around its neck, how is this church in a position to condemn anyone?
For me, I don’t believe that Jesus would have excluded anyone from the table. I believe that the message of Divine love is so large and encompassing, that all are welcome. There is a big difference between the politics of church-ianity and the message of the Christ—a big difference between the message of unconditional love and self-righteous exclusion. So, this new Pope is a big disappointment for me, just more of the same. And more of the same lost step a long time ago.